Mayors That Buck the Sanctuary Cities Trend

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Image: AP Photo/Alan Diaz

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez may be the poster child for “caving” to President Donald Trump’s immigration demands, but he is not alone.

Most mayors have stepped into the spotlight to deny immigration orders and declare themselves as either ‘sanctuary cities’ or align with them by saying police officers do not enforce federal immigration laws.

But Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez signed an executive order insisting that requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold immigration suspects in local jails, becoming the first to sanctuary city to surrender to President Trump, according to the National Review.

According to an opinion piece in the Miami Times by Manny Diaz, a former Miami-Dade mayor, Gimenez — his friend — acted too quickly, bowing to the president when there is no legal obligation to do so and “before the ink was dry.”

“Mayor Gimenez and I both came to this country as refugees, without legal status, and we became Americans. Fifty years later we became mayors. Had mayors back then acted as Mayor Gimenez has now, we may not have had that chance,” wrote Diaz.

President Donald Trump praised the Cuban-born mayor on Twitter:


Hordes of protesters have all but stalked Gimenez, and one local reporter went to the trouble of figuring out how to recall a Miami-Dade mayor.

According to a report by the Miami New Times, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, a contender to lead the Democratic National Committee, was at a city hall protest the day after Gimenez released the order. The mayor was in Orlando, but the county seat created a perimeter to keep protesters out.

Gimenez did it for the money, he told the Miami Herald:

“I want to make sure we don’t put in jeopardy the millions of funds we get from the federal government for a $52,000 issue,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that we’re going to be arresting more people. It doesn’t mean that we’re going to be enforcing any immigration laws.”

He wasn’t alone. In Fresno, Calif., Mayor Lee Brand told staff at the Fresno Bee:

“I’m not going to make Fresno a sanctuary city because I don’t want to make Fresno ineligible from receiving potentially millions of dollars in infrastructure and other types of projects.”

But there too, demonstrators showed up at city hall, demanding clarification on whether the city prioritizes people over Federal funding, according to the Fresno Bee. He backpedaled a bit, reaffirming Fresno’s policy that police officers do not seek to arrest based on immigrant status.

That’s not much different than mayors like Greg Fischer of Louisville. Fischer is actively reassuring immigrant populations with strong words, but he does not want to label Louisville a sanctuary city, calling the term “divisive” in his state of the city speech earlier this week.

But in Springfield, Mass., activists asked Mayor Domenic J. Sarno to develop public police policy that resists federal immigration requests, which he roundly denied to do, according to MassLive.

About the author

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox is Editor of and Senior Editor at Lexipol. She is based in Massachusetts.